How To Spot And Address Caregiver Burnout
Individuals who care for aging parents or relatives understand that the task brings with it continual stress and you can feel worn out, disillusioned and helpless. Caregivers suffer burnout and when that happens, everyday issues can seem insurmountable; it’s difficult to gather the energy to get through the day and everything appears bleak.
Burnout can cause unhappiness and detachment and this can threaten your home and family life as well as the care provided to your aging relatives. Burnout can be addressed and the symptoms healed, but before that can happen, the caregiver – or someone close to him – has to recognize burnout for what it is. If you notice yourself becoming burned out, and catch it in the early stages, it’s rather simple to address it with stress management techniques. If burnout goes unnoticed for a long period, and in many cases it does, the caregiver’s recovery can take longer and it might take more time and effort to heal.
Even when the caregiver leaves the aging parent’s home at night the idea that they are home alone is there on a subconscious level. One way to help alleviate this stress of leaving them alone is by equipping your elderly parent’s home with a home medical monitoring device. These home medical device systems allow the caregiver to leave the aging parent’s home and rest easy that they will be notified in the event something happens, and the accompanying peace of mind is beyond compare.
As a caregiver you may wonder exactly what burn out is. It’s described as a state of complete “emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress;” this is the situation faced by many caregivers. The role of caregiver for an aging parent is rewarding in many instances but when you add in taking care of your own family, work and general day-to-day activities, adding caregiving into the mix can lead to burnout. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the constant demands of your own home life as well as your parents’ daily needs. If the stress continues, the caregiver will lose interest and motivation and will forget what got them into the role of caregiver in the first place – the desire to offer loving care to a relative in need.
In your role as a caregiver there will be times when you will feel bored and un- or under-appreciated. There will even be days when you feel resentful of having to carry the load of being a caregiver. Those feelings are natural, it’s when they carry into burnout level in which your productivity suffers. You’re feeling listless, helpless and hopeless, that you need to seek help and also ask for assistance with the care-giving role.
Here are some things you, or your family, should be on the lookout for if you are in the role of caregiver:
- You feel like caring at all about your home life, work life, and caring for your aging relatives is a complete waste of energy
- You feel as though every day is a bad day
- You’re completely exhausted all of the time
- You feel overwhelmed by even the smallest of tasks
- The feeling of being unappreciated weighs heavy on your mind
Be advised that burnout can affect every area of your life. It can also negatively impact your immune system and make you susceptible to illnesses such as the cold or flu.
It’s important that caregivers take care of themselves because if they don’t, not only will their lives suffer, but the lives of those for whom they are caring for can be negatively impacted. The stress of caregiving doesn’t go away once you tell your aging relatives good night; the responsibility carries over when you go home at night. One way to address that issue is to have your family’s home equipped with a home medical alert system. With this system, your aging parent wears medical alert pendant; if they suffer a fall or some other medical emergency, all they need to do is push a button and help and medical emergency personnel will be dispatched.